All I Did Was Blink

Being 39: Where I've been, Where I am, and Where I'm going…

He must increase, but i must decrease January 27, 2011

Filed under: Life — itsahappyblog @ 9:52 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,
John the Baptist baptizing Christ

Image via Wikipedia

Earlier today I used this phrase in a comment left on yesterday’s post. Actually, I said, “less of me, more of Him.” I have used this as a tagline in my email. I have thought about how the phrase as it reads could apply to my everyday life. But as soon as I typed the response to my friend a while ago, I decided I needed a refresher about where the words are found in scripture and the context in which they were first spoken.

John 3: 26-31 NASB

26And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified, behold, He is baptizing and all are coming to Him.”

27John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven.

28“You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent ahead of Him.’

29“He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice So this joy of mine has been made full.

30“He must increase, but I must decrease.

31“He who comes from above is above all, he who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks of the earth He who comes from heaven is above all.

A few personal observations (disclaimer – this is not intended as a theological commentary in ANY way):

John the Baptist‘s followers were coming to John to say that Jesus was baptizing as John had been and that He (Jesus) appeared to be gaining many followers, in fact, taking from Johns own flock. Based on John’s response, it seems they were concerned that John was loosing his celebrity, his numbers were dropping. John’s use of this phrase seems to be saying, ‘Look, this is exactly what I have tried to explain to you all along. My role has been to announce His arrival and to create a buzz..now that He is here, I need to fade into the background! My peeps should really be His peeps if I have done my part correctly. It thrills my soul to hear what you are telling me right now!!’

So, how does this phrase really relate to me and my everyday life?

First, I never want eyes on me for the sake of my edification. If there is anything good or right that comes out of my mouth, the glory should all go to the One I follow. Pride has no place in my service to Him.

Second, I rejoice greatly when I hear of what God is doing in and through others. I get excited about eternity when I see that God’s word is penetrating the souls of men no matter who may have been the message bearer in His name. Jealousy only serves to keep me from being productive in whatever opportunities may be before me at any given moment.

Third, and this one is a bit of a departure from the context found in John chapter 3, my use of this phrase specifically as it pertains to yesterday’s post and the comments that followed was meant to convey that I never want the challenges of my life to shine brighter than the One who sees me through them!

Maybe I am way off base here. Maybe I am still not clear on the applicability of this phrase to my personal life. I would love to hear from YOU, readers, on the subject. Leave a comment at the end of this post. Lets ‘talk’. 😉

Advertisements
 

Redeeming Halloween – Guest Writer October 31, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — itsahappyblog @ 4:28 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,
Halloween Costumes 1959

Image by Abby Cadaver via Flickr

*a note from itsahappyblog* This is a guest post from my friend ‘Shannon’. Thanks so much for filling in for me today, Shannon!! My memories and thoughts on Halloween to follow later this week. I would love to hear from my readers below the post!

 

“The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn.” Martin Luther

As you may have heard, or may personally practice yourself, many Christians are not “down” with the practice of Halloween. Some steer their children from trick-or-treating to Harvest parties. Some shun the holiday altogether. This is not a manifesto against either. I am not writing to spark debate. This is simply a statement of a position I have felt called to articulate for a while now. I find that there are few Christian voices that articulate why Christians would, in good conscience, celebrate Halloween. This is my humble attempt to do just that.

 

For those who are confused about why some Christians step back from Halloween, I think it boils down to two main issues 1) fear of the power of the devil and his minions 2) a strong belief that celebrating the holiday means participating in occult and pagan rituals which stand in opposition to God. I can understand these issues, so I am not going to try to argue against them. Rather, I’d like to offer the reasons why I do celebrate Halloween with my children.

 

Halloween’s not my favorite holiday. If I had to rank holidays, I’d say it falls just after Dr. King’s birthday and Veteran’s Day on my list (which I also celebrate with my kids). As a Christian, I do have my concerns about the way it is practiced. I do have my own fears about it—fears rooted in the hate crimes my family experienced seventeen years ago this weekend. But frankly, I believe that there are more reasons to be concerned about the way that Christmas and Easter are celebrated in our country than Halloween. That is because their celebrations, which are rooted in the Christian faith, often neglect Christ almost entirely in common practice.

 

So instead of shunning Halloween, I choose to engage it. I help my kids dress up. I take them “trick-or-treating”, which is more about walking up to houses for free candy than ever tricking anyone. I pass out candy to the hundreds of kids who walk down my street on their way to the “better” neighborhoods.  I talk to neighbors who excitedly decorate their homes with scary décor. I even make my own pitiful attempt at Halloween decorations—fake spider webs tangle among the real ones around my door, and “caution-danger” tape wraps around the 200 year-old tree which makes our house look creepy year-round.

 

I do all this because I honestly feel more Christ-like by engaging in this community event than shutting it out. That’s what my husband and I want to teach our kids to do. We choose not to fear our kids being corrupted by the scare and gore (which I really don’t like) but talk to them about what we see and offer them a foundation at home that we hope will set them on the right path.  We seek to practice hospitality to those who might otherwise not receive it. We seek to love God fervently and our neighbors graciously (although I still struggle being nice to those punks who egged my door last year).

 

In The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis mocks the devil in his depiction of demons. If you’ve never read it, I highly recommend checking it out because I like his idea. I like the idea of making fun of the devil the way gargoyles did outside ancient churches. I also appreciate the notion of poking fun at ourselves so that we do not give him a foothold. I’ve even entertained the thought of dressing like pop-culture celebrity “Snooky” this Halloween, although I fear the resemblance may be so startling, I would terrify children and adults alike.

 

This Halloween, my girls will be mocking witches and Greek goddesses (my son will be emulating his hero, Uncle Mitch, as a pilot). Because to them, as most kids, Halloween is about getting candy and dressing up, playfully running through crunchy leaves on neighbors lawns, and giggling with their friends. Reformation Day and All Saints Day are this weekend as well, and we will be teaching our kids about those. We do these things because we want our kids to feel the love that we, and God, have for them.

 

We are reading through the Heidelberg Catechism with our kids this year to hopefully instill in them the appreciation for the Reformed Confessions that we share.  But more importantly, we want our kids to know the commandments Jesus gave us: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” My hope and prayer is that our three kids will grow up and say, “My parents may not have always gotten it right, but they were committed and courageous followers of Jesus”.



 

 
%d bloggers like this: